Honey bees are flying insects that live in complex social organizations called colonies. They build wax comb in nests to raise young and store food. Adult bees are either male or female. Females consist of two castes: queen bees and workers. Honey bees divide labor and work collectively for the benefit of the colony.
A drone bee is a male developed from a queen’s unfertilized egg. Larger than workers, a drone’s sole purpose is to mate with a virgin queen. Drones perform no other hive tasks and cannot sting. Since they have a limited function, the colony controls the drone population, so they do not burden resources.
A worker bee is an infertile female unable to reproduce. A queen bee’s pheromones suppress the workers’ reproductive organs. In their 45-day lifespan, workers perform most of the tasks needed in a hive. Workers forage for resources, make honey, nurse brood, and guard the hive, among other responsibilities.
A queen bee’s role in the hive stems from being the colony’s only fertilized female. Her primary roles are egg-laying for population growth and the production of pheromones to guide colony behaviors. Though she does not rule the hive, a healthy queen bee is critical to the hive’s survival and productivity.
To assemble a hive body, join the sides at 90° angles, checking corners with a square. Tighten joints with a mallet. Secure the connections with nails, staples, or screws. Exterior wood glue and clamps are optional but strengthen joints. An assembly jig can speed the process.
“Nuc'” (pronounced “newk”) is beekeeping shorthand for a small nucleus colony housed in a mini-hive or “nuc box.” With resources from an established hive, a nuc consists of a queen, a small number of other bees, and frames with food and brood in various development. Among other uses, nucs can start or expand apiaries.
Beekeeping is the ancient agricultural practice of managing honey bees in enclosed structures called beehives. Beekeepers may obtain crop pollination services from these bees and harvest their honey, beeswax, pollen, and other products. Beekeeping can be a hobby or commercial in nature.
Honey flow is when nectar is so abundant that bees gather enough for their current needs dietary needs and store surplus honey for the future. Thus, honey flow is really about nectar flow. Surplus honey feeds the colony during low nectar times and provides honey for harvest by beekeepers.
Foundationless frames are beehive frames with only a top bar starter strip for bees to begin drawing wax. Without a base, foundationless frames provide a more natural building space where bees can determine cell sizes on their own. However, foundationless frames require proper setup and handling to avoid potential problems.
A queen excluder is a metal or plastic grill serving as a selective barrier between hive boxes. Gaps in the grill permit passage of worker bees but not the larger queen and drones. An excluder placed above the brood nest prevents the queen from accessing the honey supers to lay eggs.